Eurozone finance ministers agreed early on Tuesday to amend the timetable for reducing Greece’s debt-to-GDP ratio.
Greece is now expected to bring the ratio down to 124% by 2020, up from the previous target of 120%. An additional target of “substantially lower than 110%” has been set for 2022, while by 2016 Greece should aim for an interim target of 175%.
International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde called previously for there to be no movement in the deadline or target, arguing that instead Greece’s debt burden should be reduced by imposing further losses on creditors.
In addition, a Eurogroup statement referred to the possibility of Greece buying back some of its debt currently trading below par value, a measure Germany has advocated.
“If this is the route chosen,” the statement said, “any tender or exchange prices are expected to be no higher than those at the close on Friday 23 November 2012.”
The deal also included a possible reduction of the interest rate Greece pays on bailout loans, as well as a 10 year suspension of such payments, although these measures are subject to how much progress is made on reforms.
“The Eurogroup expects to be in a position to formally decide on the disbursement [of Greece’s next tranche of bailout funding] by 13 December,” the Eurogroup statement said.
On the currency markets the Euro edged lower against the Dollar Tuesday morning, as gold and silver also eased slightly in Dollar terms.
“Gold does not appear to be particularly impressed by last night’s agreement,” says this morning’s commodities note from Commerzbank.
“The budget balance and economic growth targets set in the program are very ambitious, and it is questionable whether they will actually be achieved. If not, the Greek debt problems could return to the spotlight more quickly than anticipated.”
Greece’s economy will shrink by 4.5% next year, following a contraction of 6.3% in 2012, according to the latest Economic Outlook published by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development Tuesday.
“The monetary policy stance should be further eased in many economies,” the OECD report says. “Additional easing is required in the Euro area, Japan and some emerging market economies, including China and India… excessive near-term fiscal consolidation should be avoided.”